SOUTH FORK ─ Today, Governor John Hickenlooper signed the bipartisan 2012 Water Projects Bill at the Rio Grande Club in South Fork, Colorado. Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass), allocates funding for the construction of water projects across the state and maintenance of the state’s water infrastructure. In addition to supporting and maintaining Colorado vital water resources, it will also stimulate local economies and foster job creation.
Senator Schwartz offered the following comment on The 2012 Water Projects Bill today:
“The water projects funded in this legislation are critical for managing and protecting our water resources. The jobs created by these infrastructure projects will also provide a needed economic boost for communities in the San Luis Valley where these projects are the result of important state and local cooperation. This legislation is absolutely vital to the state's ability to address and cope with the severe drought conditions we are facing. Now more than ever it is imperative that we appreciate water as the lifeblood of Colorado. I thank the Governor for ensuring that this bill was passed by the legislature and signing it into law today.”
This legislation was one of the bills killed in the House in the final days of the regular legislative session. The Governor called the legislature back into special session to consider Senate Bill 2 to fund these vital water projects which allocate $55 million for reservoir projects, as well as more than $6 million for watershed protection, flood and drought control programs and other necessary water projects across the state.
The General Assembly annually authorizes grants and loans for water projects. The 2012 Water Projects Bill appropriates grants and loans from the Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund and loans from the State Severance Tax Trust Fund Perpetual Base Account for specific water-related projects over two years. These water projects will ensure Colorado has clean drinking water, assist communities in planning for flooding, refresh flood response funds, gather new data on water consumption and water rights, and rehabilitates reservoirs and recreation areas.
The Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund was created in 1971 to provide low-interest loans for water projects. The Severance Tax Trust Fund Perpetual Base Account was established in 1997 to provide low interest loans to municipalities, water districts, and agriculture users for water infrastructure projects.